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Top 10: Chapter Books with Activity to Get Boys to Read

Chapter Books with Activities for Boys Book Club

Some of my Mom Friends are dreading the summer reading requirements from school because their boys are not reading for pleasure yet.  So I put together this list that combines books with a related and fun activity as an incentive for  boys to read.  Yes, I believe in bribery.  It helps get kids over the hump to change their behavior on a temporary basis but that might be enough for them to realize that reading is fun.

It works like this:

  • Find a friend, if that helps, to commit to reading the book.  A classmate is perfect because they have the same assignment.
  • When both kids have read the book, schedule the activity.
  • Do the activity together, and even talk about how the book relates to the activity.
  • Before the play date ends,  pick another book.   Yes, I mean pick the book/activity while the fun is still going on.
  • Do it again.

Some of these books were culled from past boy book club meetings, so these books and activities can easily be turned into a book club, mini or otherwise.

p.s.  Another incentive for boys:  Borders Summer Reading Program.  Get one book free from their list after you submit their form with 10 books that they’ve read.

If you would like to purchase a book, please click on image of book,

or buy at the Pragmatic Mom Store on the right hand column.  Thank You!

10.  The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth / hatch eggs (ladybug, chicken, or other creature)

Twelve-year-old Nate Twitchell hatches a strange egg laid by one of the hens on his family farm that turns out to be a baby Triceratops.  [incoming grades 3, 4, or 5]

9.  How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell / Dig up worms. What you do next is up to you!  (Maybe go fishing with worms?)

Can Billy win the bet by eating a worm a day for fifteen days? This book has very short chapters with illustrations and the story is really appealing to boys.   [incoming grades 3, 4, 5]

8.  A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park/ Paint Your Own Pottery or Make Clay Pot with Sculpy

Set in 12th century Korea during the Koryo era, an orphan who ends up working for a celebrated celadon potter is able to realize his own potential.  [incoming grades 4, 5 or 6]

7. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George /Nature Hike to Identify Edible Plants

This series is about Sam Gribley living unhappily in New York City who runs away to some forgotten family land in the Catskill Mountains.  He learns to live off the land with the help of a kindly librarian, a falcon baby, a flint and steele, penknife, and a ball of cord.  He is joined by his sister in book two, and book three chronicles Frightful’s migration journal south.  [incoming grades 4, 5 or 6]

6. The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan/ Fencing Lesson.  I would sign up for a free demo or lesson.  This is not a do-it-yourself type of sport.

This is “Harry Potter meets Greek Mythology” and it’s a fantastic read!  It’s such a page-turner that I stayed up to 2 a.m. to finish it!  Percy Jackson is an ADD, dyslexic 6th grade hero who has trouble staying in school because, as it turns out, he’s no ordinary human but a half-blood related to one of the big three in Greek Mythology.  He must find and return Zeus’ lost lightening bolt to prevent WWIII. [incoming grades 4, 5, 6 or 7]

5. The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies / Have a Lemonade Stand to Raise Money for Charity.   What is another way to raise money?

This is my Mom Friend’s son’s favorite book from a local author in Newton, MA.  I have it in my bookshelf but I haven’t read it yet.  The 4th Grade boys I know LOVE this book. [incoming grades 3, 4 or 5]

4. The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Basil by Wiley Miller / Choose a Balloon Project

A completely delightful story of a boy who finds adventure when a man in a hot air balloon passes by his window.  The book has large print and illustrations so it’s perfect for reluctant boy readers.  If he enjoys this book, there is a sequel,Attack of the Volcano Monkeys.   [incoming grades 2, 3 or 4]

3.  How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell / Catch Toads, Lizards, Frogs or Insects with a Net

A hilarious book in the vein of Diary of a Wimpy Kid about an young wimpy Viking boy named Hiccup who, like all Viking boys, must capture and train a dragon as a rite of passage.  Hiccup emerges as a hero when his forbidden “dragon whispering” ability and wits saves his village from two gigantic dragons. [incoming grades 2, 3 or 4]

2.  Jackie and Me (Baseball Card Adventures) by Dan Gutman /Attend Baseball Game and/or go to Baseball Card Shop

Even if your child doesn’t play baseball, it’s always fun to go to baseball game to check out a baseball card shop.  And, learning about Jackie Robinson should be on everyone’s list anyway.  Have a discussion comparing Jackie Robinson to Barrack Obama.

1.  The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park /Make A Kite.  If it doesn’t get too crazy, you can let the boys do a kite competition by seeing who flies the highest or even let them compete a la the book trying to cut the other person’s kite loose while staying in a circle.

Set in 15th century Korea, Korea’s Golden Age, two brothers — one  skilled in kite making and the other skilled in  kite flying — combine their skills to compete in a kite flying contest on behalf of the king.  [incoming grades 3, 4, 5 or 6]


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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

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